An amendment to Scotland’s Non-Domestic Rates Bill will harm investment in the student accommodation sector, the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) said on Thursday.
The amendment would see business rates extended to what is “essentially domestic property,” said David Melhuish, the SPF’s director.
Currently, student accommodation is considered a domestic premises and is exempt from business rates.
“Inflicting an additional charge on student accommodation providers, who already pay business rates on their commercial spaces, will have a significant impact on the high-quality accommodation that this sector provides,” Melhuish said.
The amendment was introduced at Stage 2 of parliamentary scrutiny of the bill. As preparations are made for Stage 3 debate of the bill, the SPF is lobbying Holyrood to consider the damage it could cause the sector. The timing for Stage 3 of the Bill has not yet been decided.
“Business rates would strike a significant blow to this sector, deterring further investment at a time when government is seeking to support all housing tenures to alleviate growing housing pressure in Scottish university cities and towns,” Melhuish said.